Going to a barber in Korea

Not-a-BarberSo, the first time I tried going to a Barber, it had some funny windows. Very…dark. Turns out, it was actually a whorehouse. Surprise! Now, some of you looking at the photo on the left may be asking ‘Pat, how the hell would you EVER think that’s a place to get a haircut?’ Let it be known that I do not claim to be a clever man.

After much procrastination, it started to become clear that I’d put off getting a haircut for way too long. So after some brief internet research, I learned how to ask for a cleanup (‘just smooth it out, please’). I then headed out to Hongdae, where I was hoping my education might prove unnecessary by finding an English-speaking barber.

My strategy for finding a place for a haircut? Wander around until I see a place that cuts hair. Here’s a fun fact: the temperature in Seoul today was 9* F. With a sub-zero wind chill. Man, do I make great decisions. But Hongdae is a pretty busy place, so how long can it take to find a place? Long enough to lose feeling in your eyeballs. But Pat, you say, that doesn’t even make any sense: you don’t have feeling in your eyeballs. Well, that’s what I thought earlier today.

Anyway, I finally find a place called EZ-Hair that looks pretty respectable. I wander in, do the standard ‘Anyeong ha-seyo. I’m sorry – I don’t speak any Korean. Does anyone speak any English?’ Score, there’s one English-speaking barber, and he’s also the best dressed person in the place. Sidenote: good barbers generally have good style too.

My barber’s name is Gah Ohn, and he’s awesome. My favorite barber back in the States (Matt at The Grooming Lounge on M Street) used to have a 5 minute talk about what I wanted and what he thought, before getting to work. Gah Ohn’s English skills are good, but not extensive, so we go through a few dozen images on his netbook instead. I ask for a simple trim. He frowns, clicks over to something slightly bowl shaped. I frown, and we finally settle on a middle option that we both like. Awesome.

We start snipping away, and after a few minutes, there’s chattering in Korean, and an assistant pops over, snaps on some gloves, and throws some paste on my hair. For half a second, I have no idea what’s going on. Then I remember that the image we picked was a Korean guy with brown hair. In the U.S., if you pick a cut, you only get the cut, not the color. In Korea, everyone starts out with black hair anyway, so… Son. Of. A. Bitch. Too late now though, so whatever.

After a few minutes of burning, I get shampoo’d, and hey, would you look at that – no brown hair! Everything is…smaller though. They literally melted hair off my scalp. Scary? Just a little. After some cleaning up, it actually looks pretty good. So, without any further ado, here are the results:

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2 Responses to Going to a barber in Korea

  1. Honey, you look truly thrilled with the results. It looks okay just wished you did too. Looks rather high maintenance Love you!

  2. anam says:

    more posts pleasee! 🙂
    i enjoy reading of your small adventures


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